He must increase, but I must decrease. (John 3:30)
So this was my reading for the day. Well, not just this verse, but this verse plus a chunk of other verses around it. In fact it's been my verse for the last couple of days; and maybe for a few days (or weeks) longer, who knows? Anyway, today as I read from John 3, this was the only verse I saw. And it came with a question from God: "How's this process going for you?"
Well, in an effort to avoid the question, I immediately started reading the other verses around it, trying to see if there was any way of weaseling out of the question through the context. Nope, no luck. The context is that John's disciples come to him because many of the folks that had come out to the desert to see John had jumped ship, and were now going to Jesus instead. "Everyone's going to him," they complain. And John's answer is priceless. "Good! Let them. Didn't I tell you that I wasn't The One, but only the one sent to bear witness to The One? The bride belongs to the bridegroom, not to me. I'm just a friend of the bridegroom. My job is to attend to the groom; waiting for His arrival, listening for His voice. And when He comes, my job is just to step out of His way. The bride is for Him, not for me.
That's when I realized it. I don't want to be just the friend. I want to be more than that. I want the attention and affection and recognition that the groom gets. I want the bride to feel that way about me. I want to matter. I don't want to be an insignificant secondary character in this story, I want a bigger role. I want to be the main attraction; or at least a main attraction. I want to increase. I want to be BIG in people's lives. I need to be BIG in people's lives. And there it was...the ugly truth.
So I guess my answer to His original question is, "Not very well, I suppose." There is still plenty that needs to die in me, starting with my needy attitude. There is still plenty of decreasing that needs to be done; and not just for decreasing's sake, but for His sake, so that He might increase. So that He might be BIG in the lives of people. So BIG that He is all they see, all they want. So that He is their Beloved Groom; The One who loves them so deeply and passionately that He was willing to sacrifice everything just so they might spend eternity with Him. Pray that I will want nothing more than to help make that happen. Pray that I will learn to step aside and make BIG room for Him. Pray that I will not try to take up all the space myself. Pray that I will learn to be a better friend of the Bridegroom, rather than being so full of myself. Pray that I might embrace this wonderful life of decreasing. And pray that the next time He asks me this question, I'll have a better answer.